Ukraine secret service agents tried to assassinate Vladimir Putin with a kamikaze drone loaded with explosives but the plan failed after the drone crashed a few miles short of its target, it has been claimed. The assassination attempt was made during one of Putin's scheduled visits to an industrial park in Moscow earlier this week.
The UJ-22 drone, believed to have been sent from Ukraine, was found abandoned not far from Moscow on Sunday, and several experts believe it intentionally flew over or circled the Russian capital, German newspaper Bild claims. The claims were first made by Ukrainian activist Yuriy Romanenko in a tweet.
The UJ-22 drone was found in woodlands in the Noginsk area, which is believed to be the closest to Moscow any Ukrainian drone has ever come.
According to German newspaper Bild, the Ukrainian troops reportedly launched the UJ-22 drone from Ukraine on Sunday with the intention of targeting a recently constructed industrial area near Moscow that Putin was scheduled to visit.
The drone, however, crashed just a few kilometers from the Rudnevo industrial complex before it completed its alleged mission to eliminate the Russian ruler.
Bild cited a tweet by Romanenko, who claims to be closely connected to Kyiv's intelligence services, wherein he claimed that Ukrainian secret service agents had 'information' about Putin's alleged visit to the industrial site and had made the decision to use the deadly drone to try to assassinate the Russian president.
"Putin we are getting closer. Everyone saw the news about the drone that flew to Moscow, but did not explode? So, this drone flew for a reason," Romanenko's tweet read.
"Last week, our intelligence officers received information about Putin's trip to the industrial park in Rudnevo. Accordingly, our kamikaze drone took off, which flew through all the air defenses of the Russian Federation and crashed not far from the industrial park," the tweet further read.
No Word from Kyiv
Kyiv is yet to make any official comment on the claims made in Bild. A 500-mile-range UJ-22 drone did crash on Sunday near the town of Vorokogo. Photos of the destroyed UAV in a forest close to Moscow were shared on social media platforms like Telegram.
The drone was loaded with 30 C4 plastic explosive blocks weighing 17 kilograms, which the US Army often uses.
Putin's spokesman Paval Zarubin claimed on Sunday morning that the Russian president intended to "visit an industrial park in Moscow" without providing a timeline.
Videos posted on social media show the Rudnevo industrial park's front grass had been spray-painted green. It was said this was in preparation for Putin's arrival.
However, Russian state media said that Putin was scheduled to visit the Rudnevo industrial park and hold a meeting on the advancement of unmanned aircraft systems today.
According to the TASS news agency, the Russian strongman would look at how the systems are constructed. The drone incident was not mentioned in the state media article.
However, Bild cited Romanenko claiming that there was an assassination attempt on Putin.
"Considering how much Putin is obsessed with his own security, this story could have huge implications for the Kremlin towers."
Putin is rumored to be terrified of being assassinated ever since his invasion of Ukraine when hit squads were dispatched to kill President Zelensky in the opening stages of the conflict.
Putin has asserted in the past that he had escaped several assassination attempts.
In 2017, Putin revealed to director Oliver Stone that he had been the target of five assassination attempts and that the only reason he was still alive was because he personally handled his security.
"I do my job and the security officers do theirs and they are still performing quite successfully," Putin said in the documentary The Putin Interviews.
Putin reportedly travels with his own sniper team, whose job it is to locate potential attackers and eliminate them before they can pull the trigger Putin.
A former British public school student was detained in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in 2012 in connection with a conspiracy to assassinate Putin that was thwarted.
When special forces apprehended Adam Osmayev in Odessa, he allegedly confessed to planning to go to Moscow and assassinate Putin, who was then a presidential candidate. Osmayev allegedly planned to assassinate Putin by detonating a bomb in his motorcade.
Osmayev comes from a prominent Chechen family that is opposed to Putin.
Putin is extremely paranoid about his safety and reportedly often worries that he may be killed, according to those close to him.